Wed, Sep 7, 2022 3:30 PM
By Merrilee Gasser, The Center Square
Diagnostic testing company Arkana Laboratories announced Wednesday its intent to expand its Little Rock operations to create the largest renal pathology lab in the country and add more than 70 new positions over the next six years, according to the announcement.
The company estimates its Little Rock operation already performs about 40% of all kidney biopsies in the country and plans to process more than 24,000 kidney biopsies from 44 states in 2022 alone, according to Arkana Executive Director Chris Larsen.
"We hope that by the end of this year we'll be fully staffed with 170 people and anticipate adding 74 positions before 2028," Larsen said. "With regard to infrastructure, we purchased the building here behind us. We're planning an addition to it as well as remodeling of the building so that it can fit the purposes and the mission of Arkana."
Larsen said the company also received notification from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the last two weeks of an intent to fund three separate small business grants totaling more than $2.5 million.
Arkana began in 2001 and has grown to 18 full-time pathologists with services including renal pathology, epidermal nerve fiber density, neuropathology, and biopharma services, according to the company's website. It has a history of partnering with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic institutions for research and development.
"We don't want just to recruit manufacturing facilities to Arkansas," said Hutchinson. "We want to be able to expand our economy and recognize that our economy is based upon tourism, it's based upon agriculture, it's based upon our military installations, it's based upon new technology jobs that are represented here today. And so our economic development support goes to not just traditional manufacturing, but its broad base to those that are going to create jobs for the future."
Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston touted Arkana's economic investment as an example of the governor's leadership.
"I want to say thank you to our governor for leading our state in these last years in creating a culture that is pro-business by balancing a budget while cutting taxes and increasing revenues into our state, increasing our reserves, and in creating a business climate that is now a leader in the entire country," Preston said. "It's allowed for the growth of 120,000 more Arkansans working today than in January 2015 when he took office. And jobs like this are just the tip of the iceberg."